Sat, 04 Feb 2023

New Delhi [India], December 5 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has said that India's trade with Russia is at a very "small level" in comparison to European nations. He made the remarks on Monday during a joint press conference with visiting German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

In response to a question regarding Russia sending a list of requests to India and how is it different from the past, EAM Jaishankar said, "We have been discussing for some years now with Russia on how to expand our trade. Our trade with Russia is really quite small level. I would say generally it's been in the 12-13 billion dollar if you compare it to most European countries. Most of them have multiple times that trade."Revealing that the discussions between India and Russia have been taking place before February 24, Jaishankar noted, "It's not a discussion which started after February 24. It's a discussion which has been going on before. I myself have been involved in this discussion for eight years now."Addressing a joint press conference with Annalena Baerbock, Jaishankar stated that he is involved in the ongoing discussions taking place with Russia. He said, "I currently infact head a body with a Russian deputy Prime Minister as a counterpart which is dedicated to actually expanding our economic cooperation."EAM Jaishankar said, "We have faced challenges it often happens in trade you know phytosanitary standards or non-tattoo and other regulatory impediments. So, at the moment you know the ongoing discussion and what either side can import from each other that is the context in which it is taking place."He further said, "We have also given Russians a set of products which we believe we are very competitive in, which we feel should be getting access to the Russian market and as I said again this is not a post-February 24 conversation it is something which is been going on for some time."Sharing details regarding ongoing negotiations with Russia, Jaishankar noted, "We will see where there is a demand and supply and where there is a fit. I think a large part of it would be determined by the market because in our country business is mostly in the private sector but you know I don't think people should read anything more into it other than the legitimate expectations of any trading country to increase it."On being asked if India continues to call for dialogue despite Russia outlining preconditions for negotiations, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said, "Indian position has been very clear and very public. Indian position articulated by my Prime Minister is that this is not an era of war."He stressed, "Dialogue and diplomacy is the answer which by the way G20 has also accepted, it has found expression in their Bali declaration but what is the basis for people to do is to have that dialogue is for the countries concerned you know. It is not for India to specify or to advocate or to condition that is not our intention that is not been our approach. It is something which the parties involved will have to decide among themselves." (ANI)

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